Horner: Wolff can use his chequebook to help Ocon

Red Bull chief Christian Horner says Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff would be able to keep Esteban Ocon in Formula 1 – if he gets out his chequebook.

Ocon’s chances of remaining on the grid are receding, with Wolff hitting out at rival teams – one of which is understood to be Renault – over the Frenchman’s fate.

Ocon is believed to have had an agreement with Renault prior to the team swooping to sign Daniel Ricciardo, while he is set to exit Force India in the wake of Lawrence Stroll’s takeover of the team, with Lance Stroll poised to join.

“We’ve invested in a team [Toro Rosso] and I’m sure if Toto writes a cheque I’m sure he could get a seat at Williams, for example,” Horner suggested to Sky Sports F1.

“There’s two very strong kids in Ocon, [it would be] great to see him stay in F1, and George Russell.

“Toto might have to cut them free at the end of the day as it’d be a shame not to see those guys get an F1 seat because of who they’re contracted to.”

Red Bull’s current line-up of Ricciardo and Max Verstappen plied their trade at junior team Toro Rosso, with 2019 signing Pierre Gasly following a similar path.

Horner recommended that Mercedes should fund its own junior team if it feels so passionately about the fate of its young drivers.

“It’s the only real way, we’ve made that investment and it’s paid dividends with Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo, Max Verstappen and now Pierre Gasly coming through, and it’s worked for us,” he said.

“I think the problem Toto has got is he has real talented drivers and there just aren’t the seats, and that’s going to be a real problem for those guys going into next year.”